8 Projects Across the State Will Conserve More than 2,000 Acres of Viable Agricultural Land Through the Farmland Protection Program
110,450 Acres of Farmland Protected So Far, Builds on State’s 100,000 Acre Milestone Announced Earlier this Year
Applications Still Being Accepted for Round 19, Eligible Organizations Can Apply Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today, during Climate Week, announced that more than $6 million is being awarded to strengthen New York's agricultural industry through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants program. The 8 awarded projects will protect a total of 2,014 acres of valuable farmland across the State, helping to keep agricultural land in production, ensure the long-term viability of New York's farming operations, and protect the State’s potential for carbon sequestration on these agricultural lands furthering the ability for the State to meet its climate goals.
"Protecting our state's farmlands is a critical component not only to protecting our environment, but also maintaining the economic viability of the state's agricultural industry for generations to come,” Governor Hochul said. "This program gives farmers the support they need to conserve land while expanding market opportunities so they can continue to produce and sell some of the highest quality foods, beverages, and products in the country that sustain our communities. I’m proud we have awarded funding to so many deserving farms, helping to protect their farmland for years to come while making progress on our state’s climate goals."
"Farming is a cornerstone of New York's economy and we must ensure our farmlands are preserved," said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. "I am proud to join Governor Hochul in announcing this significant investment, which will allow our New York farmers to maintain their current production, while also providing new economic opportunities."
This is the 19th Round of the State's Farmland Protection program. Last year, for the first time ever, the program awarded funding to projects to support the State's top priorities – like food security, climate resiliency, and source water protection – as well as expanded eligibility criteria for the program to include the agroforestry, equine, and wine sectors. In addition, the eligibility criteria for the program has been expanded again, now including three new categories: field crops, livestock or livestock products, and access to farmland. Access to farmland is specifically intended to help address ongoing challenges facing new and beginning farmers as well as retiring farmers in this area.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants program and its associated grant opportunities. Grant applications are accepted on a continuous basis, until all funds have been awarded.
The following projects are the first to be awarded for the 19th round of funding:
Capital Region ($3,256,567 for 958 acres):
- Agricultural Stewardship Association (Rensselaer County) – $812,340 to protect 318 acres with 80% productive soils on Gibson Family Farms II (Livestock or Livestock Products category)
- Saratoga PLAN (Saratoga County) – $690,258 to protect 158 acres with 36% productive soils on Drummland Farm (Viable Agricultural Land - Other category)
- Agricultural Stewardship Association (Rensselaer County) – $638,205 to protect 327 acres with 69% productive soils on Edgewood Farm (Field Crops category)
- Saratoga PLAN (Saratoga County) – $565,276 to protect 79 acres with 77% productive soils on Betterdays Farm (Climate Resiliency category)
- Saratoga PLAN (Saratoga County) – $550,488 to protect 76 acres with 59% productive soils on Two Lions Farm (Equine category)
Finger Lakes ($2,872,320 for 1,002 acres):
- Genesee Valley Conservancy (Genesee County) – $1,133,605 to protect 380 acres with 81% productive soils on Stein Farms 1 (Viable Agricultural Land-Other category)
- Genesee Valley Conservancy (Genesee County) – $1,738,715 to protect 622 acres with 88% productive soils on Stein Farms 2 (Viable Agricultural Land-Other category)
Western New York ($119,220 for 54 acres):
- Western New York Land Conservancy (Niagara County) – $119,220 to protect 54 acres with 89% productive soils on Tower Farm (Specialty Crops category)
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Farmland is one of the most important natural resources we have. The Farmland Protection Program helps us to not only preserve our land and our rich soils, but also to help farmers to continue their operations, protect their way of life, and continue putting food on the table for New Yorkers and people worldwide. I congratulate all the awardees for participating in this program that is helping us to meet our climate goals and forever conserve our working landscapes for future generations of farmers."
State Senator Michelle Hinchey, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair said, “New York’s farmland is the foundation of our food supply, and making it a State priority to preserve it from the pressures of development will ensure that farmers can continue to grow our food, strengthen our local food systems, plan for the future and play an integral part in our fight against the Climate Crisis. The Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program is a vital conservation initiative that has permanently saved thousands of acres of vulnerable farmland. I thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to supporting New York agriculture and congratulate all the local farms that have received funding awards to protect their food-growing soils now and for the benefit of future generations.”
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair, said, “New York’s long-standing commitment to farmland protection continues with this latest round of FPIG grants. Expanding program eligibility to include access to farmland will help new and retiring farmers keep land in agricultural production. Congratulations to all of the funded projects; your effort will help NYS conserve almost 2,000 acres of valued farmland. And thank you to Governor Hochul and all of our partners who are committed to the health and vitality of NY agriculture.”
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, "New York farmland is an important resource that must be protected from encroaching development. Once it is lost, it seldom returns to production, which is a loss for our state's food supply. The open vistas and environmental benefits also contribute to the overall quality of life for all New Yorkers. New York appreciates Governor Hochul's ongoing commitment to the farmland preservation program which provides needed incentives that support a farm's long-term viability.”
American Farmland Trust New York Policy Manager Mikaela Perry said, “Farmland Protection is a critical tool in our fight against climate change. Protected farms serve as the foundation for farmers to steward the land with climate-smart practices that can benefit all New Yorkers with fresh, local food, heathy soil, and clean water and air. AFT applauds these farmers, land trusts, and the State of New York for their commitment to farmland protection and looks forward to continued partnership to keep land available for future generations.”
The Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program provides financial assistance to counties, municipalities, soil and water conservation districts, and land trusts to enable them to implement farmland protection activities consistent with local agricultural and farmland protection plans. The most frequently funded activity is the purchase of development rights on individual farms. However, the program also awards funding to enable other implementation activities, such as amendments to local laws affecting agriculture, option agreements, and covering the transaction costs of donated agricultural conservation easements.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
Under the Governor’s leadership, New York State continues to lead the nation with its robust climate and clean energy agenda. As part of the State’s greater climate initiatives, several agricultural programs administered through the Department of Agriculture and Markets help protect on-farm water quality and preserve farmland. New York State's nation-leading investment in clean water infrastructure totals $5 billion since 2017. Under the leadership of Governor Hochul, the 2023-24 Enacted Budget includes $500 million in clean water funding, including continued support for the Climate Resilient Farming Program (CRF), in addition to the Ag Non-Point Program, both of which build on the State's efforts to provide historic water quality protections. The CRF and Ag Non-Point programs function as part of the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) framework, a broader effort that helps farmers achieve higher levels of environmental stewardship and more efficient, cost-effective farming systems.
In addition, the Department is an integral part of the State’s Climate Action Council, which recently completed a series of public comment sessions on its Scoping Plan. The Scoping Plan will serve as the framework for how New York will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net-zero emissions, increase renewable energy use, and ensure all communities equitably benefit in the clean energy transition.
In September 2022, the New York State initiative, NYS Connects: Climate Smart Farms and Forests Project, was also awarded a $60 million grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. Led by the State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets, the project is one of 70 selected nationally to receive federal funding to help foster farm and forest landowner adoption of climate smart practices and help connect these farm and forest commodities to consumers through market development.